Canada the Land Where Breasts Roam Free…

Since in my last post I spoke about personal freedom here in Canada I thought this would be a nice follow up post.  Boobs, boobs eerywhere…The countdown was on, and anxiously awaiting were more than 200 moms seated, with babies in arm, ready to pull out a breast and start feeding.  They converged yesterday at St. Laurent Shopping Centre for this year’s Breastfeeding Challenge to mark World Breastfeeding Week.

“I’m always extremely happy and extremely proud to come here,” said Louise Gilbert, a public health nurse with the City of Ottawa’s public health unit and the organizer of yesterday’s event.  “We have women from all over the city, outside the city, different cultures, different religions … and they’re all doing something nice here for their child.”

For the fifth year, Ottawa was competing with cities across the country to set the record for the most babies breastfed at one time. Last year, Ottawa placed fourth overall, with 202 babies who “latched” with 202 moms. This year, more mothers registered — 219 — but only 198 babies latched.

“When the mother attaches the baby to the breast and it starts sucking, it’s called a ‘latch’, ” Gilbert said, explaining it’s not easy and many moms need support.

In the short term, breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of infections and in the long term helps prevent obesity and heart disease, Gilbert said. It’s recommended that moms breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of the baby’s life and continue breastfeeding for two years.  The event aimed to raise awareness of breastfeeding’s importance and empower women to do so in public.

“For me, I wanted to promote awareness,” said Monique Hermeling, 35, of Ottawa, while her eight-week-old son Alexander latched. “We bring our family, we bring our friends, there are the people in the shopping mall.”

Beside her sat friend Chantal Pomerleau, 35, of Ottawa. “It’s a way to encourage other pregnant women to consider breastfeeding,” she said as she breastfed her 12-week-old son, Jarick Moran.